The Bradley Foundation’s librarian has been doing it very well, and with a smile, for a quarter of a century.
William J. Bergeron began his service to philanthropy in general and Milwaukee’s Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in particular in January 1996. Our three tenures at the foundation thus overlapped with his.
From those tenures, we know that Bill has always understood the nature of the philanthropic enterprise as Bradley practiced it. That practice included a serious respect—maybe even reverence—for that which, and those who, preceded us. In philanthropy overall, this usually takes the form of properly applying donor intent.
For a good librarian like Bill, it has additionally meant very well-managing previously generated knowledge and wisdom, in the archives and on the bookshelves, as well as ongoing learning and judgment, in subscriptions and through the other ways in which providers of information and analysis now update their content.
The underlying research for and writing of many of the books, of course, were supported by Bradley itself; their presence in the foundation’s library signified a philanthropic commitment to the importance of ideas, evidence, and quality argumentation.
Foundations themselves benefit from and should nourish institutional memories, too, we think, and those also require talented and detail-oriented people like Bill.
For 25 years, Bill has accomplished his professional tasks with a personally engaging smile and/or humorous quip—which we believed, with Bill, was as big part of Bradley’s way, as well. Our memories of Bradley are greatly enhanced by having been able to work with him, and we wish him another good, solid quarter of a century there at least.
As for the past quarter of a century, we returned all of our checked-out books, Bill, right?